Twelve years ago shortly after moving in together Paul and I were looking into the idea of getting a puppy. We had toyed with the idea of getting a basset hound after falling in love with their appearance and having researched the breed to a lengthy degree we then made the decision to begin searching for our very ‘baby basset’.
Having being brought up with dogs I was already accustomed to the idea of having a puppy to look after and was more than willing to do so. However, each and every time I rang any of the breeders selling bassets they seemed reluctant to offer us a puppy as I was unwilling to ‘show’ dogs as I personally feel that a dog is a pet, another member of the family if you will and therefore should never be treated like a trophy to display.
I eventually found a wonderful woman called Liz whose basset had just given birth to a litter of puppies four of which were bitches (females) and two of which were unsold and available for purchase. Paul and I made arrangements to travel the length of the country to select and to bring home one of the two basset bitches, this journey had its perils though as Paul’s VW Polo decided to cark it half-way along our journey down the M6.
Thankfully after having the car and ourselves safely returned to our home we decided to give the journey another go in a different car. Seven hours later at gone midnight we arrived in South Wales where we found a hotel to crash in for the night following a full day of driving.
We contacted Liz to let her know of our arrival and plans for the morning she then invited us over for a late night Vodka slamming party but we politely declined due to exhaustion.
The next morning we woke bright and breezy ready to meet ‘Molly’, our name of choice for whichever basset bitch we selected. Liz and her family on the other hand were far from bright or breezy given the empty Vodka bottles lined on the table and having tiptoed around her kitchen to reduce ‘hangover’ hell we quietly watched the two basset bitches roaming around and unanimously chose our puppy, Molly.
Molly had already been ‘chipped’ and registered with the Kennel club, we were given a copy of her five generation family tree, a blanket which had smelt of her Mum and a mound of documents to work our way through. We carefully bundled Molly into a lined box which then sat by my husband for the journey home mostly empty as she preferred to snuggle into his arms for comfort.
I clearly remember that drive home, Molly was missing her Mum very much and the only way we seemed to be able to offer Molly comfort was by playing a Welsh radio station which we sadly lost reception for following Birmingham. By this point she seemed a lot happier with my husband and I and settled for the duration of the journey.
Upon arriving home my Mother had kindly cooked us a HotPot which was gratefully received as Paul and I were both shattered following a two-day journey and having a night of ‘howling’ ahead of us.
I settled Molly into her bed with the blanket that we had been given, I gave her some puppy food and sat with her as she explored her new surroundings. Much like having a newborn child, both sets of our parents visited and were in awe of our little bundle of fluff, much like ourselves.
Molly was given treats, toys, bedding, leads, bowls and uggins of doggy related goodies from our family and friends. It therefore wasn’t too long before Molly settled into our home, into our family and into our hearts.
Molly very quickly became toilet trained and we seemed to have things pretty much sorted just in time for Christmas. I clearly remember our first Christmas together as it was also our first Christmas in our new house and as a couple.
Twelve years later we now have two children and another new house and of course, our basset hound Molly. Molly however isn’t quite the dog she was as sadly earlier this month she began suffering with what we were told by vets to be ‘a slipped disc’ in her back. Molly found it very difficult to walk and although she has made vast improvements her legs are still much like skittles at times.
It’s difficult to see Molly like this and although we are fairly sure that she is no longer in pain, Molly has continued to keep us up throughout the night with her incessant howling. We have been up and downstairs to check on her, to let her out, to give her treats and to offer attention but the moment that we turn our backs to head for bed she begins to howl and let me tell you it ain’t quiet!
Both Paul and I are really concerned about upsetting the neighbours as we are more than aware that Molly’s barking and howling resonates through the walls and will no doubt be irritating our neighbours just as much as us. The kids luckily seem to be sleeping through Molly’s attention seeking which as of last week became even harder as Molly began soiling the kitchen.
We reduced her space during the night-time to reduce the mess by creating a crate like effect using a baby gate, we have also let her out before bedtime and Paul has been down during the night to let her out in the early hours but it seems to make little difference.
Our mop and bucket have been out almost twice a day and quite frankly I’m sick of the house smelling like bleach or worse. Paul and I have discussed the options but we both know that Molly is still well enough to enjoy a short walk, she is happy in herself when we are around and in all honesty she is quite fit and well considering her age.
However, at 3am during the second wake-up call of the night it’s hard to consider all of the above. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and both Paul and I feel as if we currently have a newborn as neither of us are sleeping thanks to the dog.
I’m not entirely sure what to do for the best, this has got to be one of the hardest decisions we have ever made and as far as I’m concerned I’m simply not ready to let go just yet, not when Molly seems fine and dandy throughout the day.
We’ve tried using the radio to keep her company during the night, soft toys, blankets, white noise, television and almost anything to keep her quiet throughout the night but so far nothing seems to be working for us.
I’m not sure how much more of this I can take in all honesty, I am exhausted and earlier this morning had to cancel coffee with friends as my vision was blurry, my judgement was clouded and I felt as if I needed to sleep for a week straight. Thankfully I’ve caught up on some sleep whilst the kids have been out at school which is just as well as I have a late bar shift ahead of me this evening.
If you have any advice, suggestions, ideas, whatever it may be I’m willing to listen for the sake of my sanity and for the sake of my hound!